ERIC Number: ED353760
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Focus on Special Education: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.
Tucker, James A.
This paper examines past and present issues in special education and offers proposals toward the goal of providing special assistance to every student who needs it. Examples of past errors include the categorical assumption that disabling conditions can be defined precisely and followed with appropriate services, and the assumption that there is a diagnostic match between the instructional needs of disabled students and the norm-referenced tests used to determine their eligibility. The discussion of present issues focuses on costs and appropriateness of special education services, suggesting that the current excessive costs of special education are largely due to the inappropriate diagnosis of many students as emotionally disturbed, mentally retarded, and learning disabled when they merely need more appropriate instruction from schools that are not structured to tolerate normal student variance. The paper proposes three strategies for the improved mastery of basic skills: motivation, teaching to mastery, and practice for automaticity. Five proposals for future special education include: (1) separating funding from the categorical assumption, (2) changing "special education" to "disabilities education," (3) coordinating legislative mandates, (4) changing paper compliance to an outcomes-based process, and (5) developing a system that is parent-focused, community-based, and collaborative. (DB)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, Compliance (Legal), Costs, Disabilities, Educational Needs, Educational Trends, Elementary Secondary Education, Emotional Disturbances, Futures (of Society), Handicap Identification, Incidence, Individual Differences, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation, Special Education, Trend Analysis
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Bunsen, Teresa D., Ed., And Others. Forum on Emerging Trends in Special Education: Implications for Personnel Preparation (4th, Washington, D.C., April 9-10, 1992); see EC 301 793.